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Managing the TBT projectpixel.gif (807 bytes)

pixel.gif (807 bytes) Hope for the best, expect the worst
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BY NOW YOU SHOULD have a pretty complete project plan and if you print it out, it will look highly impressive. But you know what they say - ‘man plans and God laughs’. To avoid the danger of future embarrassment, some serious consideration needs to be given to what could go wrong.

To quote Steve McConnell: ‘Software development is a high risk activity. Many of the risks can be prevented or minimised by performing active risk management. Many of those same risks can cripple a project if they are not actively addressed. You might be an optimist, but with software projects, as the saying goes, you can hope for the best but you should prepare for the worst.’

Here’s a run through the steps in risk analysis:

  1. Conduct a brainstorming session including as many members of the team as possible. Ask yourself the question: ‘What could go wrong to jeopardise us meeting our project objectives?’
  2. Using a high / medium / low scale, rate each item on your list for probability and seriousness. Select those risks with the highest probability and seriousness for further analysis.
  3. For each risk on your priority list, ask yourself what the possible causes could be of this happening.
  4. For the most likely causes, decide on actions that will prevent this occurring. Build these into your project plan.
  5. Where you feel you will not be able to completely eradicate the causes of a high priority risk, develop contingent actions that will reduce the effect of the risk if it does occur.

Maintain your list of risks throughout the project, updating it based on your experiences to date and new information coming available.

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                                                     Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1999. All rights reserved.                                Last revised 21/2/99